The world is facing a “virtually impossible challenge” of increasing food production by 50 per cent in two decades while protecting the environment from the consequences of intensive production, Irish Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.
He pointed out that the world population was increasing by 80 million every year, while 150 million people were joining the middle classes annually. “And that is accelerating rather than flattening out,” he said. “When you look at all those demands and the challenges that are in the way of achieving them, it almost seems impossible. You’re talking about, in less than 20 years, increasing the volume of food we produce to meet current consumption patterns, of 50 per cent.”
He was speaking at a conference organised by IBM to look at how smart technology could help the agri-food sector to compete and win new markets. Mr Coveney said the consequences of intensifying food production could not be ignored as it would eventually destroy the planet.
“We have this virtually impossible challenge of producing 50 per cent more volume in less than two decades while at the same time doing more to protect the sustainability of our environment so that we can pass it on to a new generation,” he said. “We need to be smarter about how we produce food.”
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